While the Western part of the country is experiencing a lack of water and dried lakes, upper Minnesota is overflowing with water. Lake Vermilion, the lake we work at, is 2 feet above average and that’s with a low lake level at the end of last summer. Rainy Lake, a popular destination in Voyager National Park and Canada, is at a historic high, causing the need to sandbag roads and houses with the help of the National Guard.
When we first arrived in mid-April, the weather was winter like-below freezing and snowing. Lake Vermilion was iced over and snowmobiles were frequently seen venturing on the lake. The week before fishing opener, the lake still had over 20 inches of ice. No one though the ice was going anywhere anytime soon. Then, it started to rain and slightly warm up, which to everyone’s surprise, was enough to have ice out by fishing opener on May 14th.
The weird weather continued with the high water levels. The marina docks at work were put down a few days prior to fishing opening day but had to be tired down multiple times due to water spilling over the docks causing boards to get loose (both Brad and I participated in that event). The high water level is making it difficult for lake cabin owners to put down their docks, causing the dry storage area at the marina to remain filled with boats.
Due to the weather being either cold or rainy, we have only hiked once at Split Rock Lighthouse early in April. It wasn’t busy at the lighthouse and some of the trails were walkable even with the snow. We hiked this park in October experiencing the fall colors and it was just as pretty seeing the park surrounded by snow and ice. After hiking around, we checked out Gooseberry Falls down the street. The park was packed with visitors as the falls were raging with water. The snow on the trails was slippery and since we didn’t bring our micro spikes we skipped hiking there. Afterwards, we went to the famous Rustic Inn for warm drinks and pie. We now understand why it’s a popular restaurant stop!
The other adventure we’ve had recently was going to another country. One evening we decided to head to Canada the next day as it’s a quick drive and Brad was itching for some Tim Horton’s coffee. We uploaded our passports through the arrive Canada app, answered the health questions and we were good to go. Customs is in International Falls and since it’s a logging and paper manufacturing town, there was an odd scent in the air and the area was rundown, which was a surprise to us. Crossing the border with no issues, we went to Tim Horton’s and had lunch overlooking Rainy Lake. We drove around and decided to see the American side of Rainy Lake before heading back. Checking back into US Customs can be nerve wracking as they are very serious but when the Officer chuckled when Brad told him we drove into Canada just to get coffee we felt like we did a good dead. Lol.
Rainy Lake on the American side was just as waterlogged as in Canada. House yards were like ponds, sandbags were places around houses and the side of roads. Campgrounds that are normally opened were closed due to flooding. At Voyager National Park, where Rainy Lake is located in the US, the boat ramp was mostly under water and the welcome sign at the ramp only read “Voyager”. It was sad to see all the damage the water has caused and it’s only going to get worse. We are at the Laurentian Divide so all the water from Lake Vermilion and the surrounding area goes North into Canada, crazy right? Lets just hope some relief comes soon.
Hopefully the next blog post is filled with adventures, hikes and a report of less water! Stay dry everyone and happy trails!